SEPTEMBER 21, 2019
I keep thinking about this story and I’m confident that it will change the course of my life.
There’s a widely reported story of an outspoken atheist named Penn Jillette [Image credit: Andy Kropal/AP]. He’s a famous magician in the Penn & Teller Las Vegas show, an author, TV personality, and speaker. After one of his performances, this is what happened, and I’ve condensed his own words a bit.
“A guy about my age had participated in one of my acts as an audience member. He complimented me on the show, and then said, ‘I brought this for you.’ He held up a small book. It was a New Testament with the Psalms, something that could fit in a person’s pocket.
“’I wrote in the front of it,’” the man said, ‘and I wanted you to have this.’ He said he was a businessman and not crazy. He was kind, and nice, and sane, and looked me in the eyes, and talked to me, and then gave me this Bible.
“I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe there is a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward. . .
“How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?
“I mean, if I believed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe it, that that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point that I tackle you, and this is more important than that.
“This guy was a really good guy. He was polite, honest, and sane, and he cared enough about me to proselytize and give me a Bible. . . He was a very, very, very good man and that’s important.”
You can view the short YouTube video of Penn’s full 2009 account here.
By the way, this story recently made the headlines again when the “mystery man” Christian who talked to Penn was revealed. You can read about that here, including the Christian movie that was made involving Penn Jillette.
Does this story put a new light on sharing the gospel message? It did for me.
What a great Christian man, both courageous and kind. I believe Jesus beams with approval on anyone who testifies of Him in that way.